White Flower Farm is making continual, concerted efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, eliminate nonbiodegradable waste, and prioritize sustainability across all areas of our company. To date, these efforts have included installing a solar array to heat our greenhouses and offices; avoiding use of pesticides by adopting integrated pest management (IPM) methods; using RootShield Plus, an EPA-registered, OMRI-listed biological fungicide to prevent root diseases; potting our plants in soil that contains beneficial mycorrhizae and bacteria; replacing plastic and foam packaging materials with paper and biodegradable options; and exploring paperless options for packing slips.
A significant next step in our process is to make the switch from plastic plant pots to organic, biodegradable ones. In service to this aim, we last year began trials of the Fertilpot, an organic, OMRI-listed, 100 percent biodegradable plant pot. Fertilpots are made from the natural fibers of Spruce trees (Picea abies), and they are manufactured without glues or binders. Fertilpots are plantable. (They go into the ground with the plant.) This spring, for the first time, we are shipping a limited number of plants in Fertilpots to our customers. If you receive a Fertilpot, we would be most grateful for your feedback. With your help, we hope soon to be growing and shipping most, if not all, of our plants in organic, biodegradable pots.
Top 5 reasons to use Fertilpots:
- They’re plantable.
- They’re good for the environment.
- They’re easy to take care of.
- There’s no waste.
- They’re OMRI approved (certified organic).
Fertilpots may also benefit the plants that are in them by reducing the stress of transplantation. When a plant is potted in a Fertilpot, there is no need to separate it from its pot. When plants are in plastic, roots can get matted and require teasing apart. At transplant time, some roots may get torn or broken, which can cause the plant some stress. The Fertilpot eliminates this stress.
Trialing biodegradable pots at White Flower Farm:
- Our previous trials have included wood fiber pots and coconut coir pots, but many don’t biodegrade quickly enough for plants to thrive.
- This spring’s trial of Fertilpots is our first to involve customers. We are shipping some annuals and vegetables in the biodegradable pots.
- Please note that if you ordered multiple plants for spring delivery, any that are in Fertilpots will ship alongside plants in plastic. Because this remains a trial period for the Fertilpot, customers may not request to have all their plants shipped in Fertilpots.
- A separate package insert with tips on how to care for and plant annuals or vegetables in Fertilpots will be included with each order that contains one.
- Fertilpots will be shipped in a fiber (not plastic) tray. This may absorb some moisture during transit.
- Our trials are continuing as we learn how the pots stand up to handling, shipping, and planting, and how they perform as the plant begins to grow over the course of its first season. Your feedback in all of these areas is essential and will be key to helping us make the transition away from plastic pots.
- If you receive a plant in a Fertilpot this spring, and if you have a few minutes to tell us about your experience with it, we would be most grateful. Please contact our Customer Service Team via email at [email protected] or by calling 800-503-9624.
What do I do if I can’t plant my Fertilpot plants right away?
Most important is to hold your plants in a shady, cool area (not in full sun). A garage or basement works well. Do not hold the plants indoors, as they tend to dry out faster. It can help to group the pots close together (i.e., touching each other) so they retain moisture and retain their shape. Do not hydrate the pots in a pan of water.
At what level do I position the pot in the soil?
Plant the pot at the level of the soil in the pot. It’s okay for part of the pot to stick up out of the soil. The part of the pot sticking up can be torn away for aesthetic reasons, but this is not necessary for the success of the planting.
Are the roots coming through the pots as strong as roots in plastic pots?
The roots penetrating the Fertilpots are vigorous.
What if I see mold on the pot?
Don’t panic. We had it tested by the Experiment Station in Connecticut and it was found to be harmless. Simply plant the pot in the soil. The ground (with its own pathogens and fungi) will naturally take care of it.
Thank you for being part of our Fertilpot trials and for helping us move closer to sustainability!